Bear Advocates Urge Donations Instead of Hunting Licenses

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RENO -- With applications for big game tags due in mid-April, Bear advocates are urging people to support saving the bears instead of hunting them.

No Bear Hunt Nevada is encouraging people to get a "Sav -Um" license instead of a hunting license.

"The Save-Um campaign is a fundraiser with the idea of trying to get individual Nevada voters to purchase Sav-Um licenses which is the equivalent and the same cost as a hunting license," Kathryn Bricker, the executive director of No Bear Hunt Nevada said. Bricker said No Bear Hunt Nevada is not actually using the funds to buy hunting licenses, but said some bear advocates do purchase them in order to prevent hunters from acquiring them.

Hunting licenses cost thirty-three dollars.

The Nevada Division of Wildlife said thousands of people apply for tags to hunt bears, but each season only forty-five are selected by a drawing to receive tags.

Bricker said most Nevadans are against the bear hunt, and science is not clear on whether the bear population is increasing.

Chris Healy of the Nevada Division of Wildlife says there are four-hundred to seven-hundred bears in western Nevada.

"We think we have a thriving population of bears and we also think we can safely have a managed hunt without creating any problems for the bear population as a whole," Healy said.

This is the third year for the bear hunt in Nevada. Wildlife officials are currently reviewing the hunt and will report back to state lawmakers.